A murder inquiry is continuing as the two-year anniversary of the discovery of human remains in a Sudbury river approaches, with detectives now releasing an image of two potential witnesses (pictured above) they would like to trace.
Officers were called at around 4.35pm on Thursday, August 27, 2020, after human remains were found inside two black bin bags in the River Stour, near Meadow Gate and Croft Bridge.
A Home Office post-mortem examination conducted three days later (on Sunday, August 30) was not able to establish a cause of death or any form of identification.
A small amount of additional human remains were recovered as a result of searches of the river in the week after the bags were found, with DNA testing of these remains confirming that they are from the same person as the original discovery.
Expert forensic tests have been continuing over the past two years to help build a profile of the victim. It had previously been disclosed that the victim was an adult male, who was likely to have been of an athletic or muscular build.
Further tests last year revealed that the victim is believed to have died between 2008 and 2012 and he was likely to have been aged in his late 50s to early 60s.
The approximate age of the victim and timeframe for his death are based around the results of radiocarbon dating, which has been undertaken as part of the ongoing specialist forensic work in the case.
The latest test results have now indicated that the victim was a white male, approximately 5ft 9in tall, of medium build and North European.
Efforts to identify the victim are also ongoing. To date missing person records across local regional and national databases have been reviewed and further opportunities to explore the comparison of DNA across numerous national and international databases is continuing with the support of the National Crime Agency (NCA).
In addition to collaborating with the NCA, the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team is continuing to work with a number of other specialists and experts from across the country, including regional partners and the Home Office.
On Tuesday, May 25, last year, officers arrested a 26-year-old man from Sudbury in connection with the inquiry and he was taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning. He had remained under investigation until recently but will face no further action at this time.
In addition to the over 1,800 exhibits that have been collated, 1,500 people that have been spoken to and more than 1,400 statements/reports that have been taken, officers remain actively engaged with enquiries, undertaking further house-to-house work as recently as the end of last month.
Police are now releasing an image of a man and a woman they would like to trace in connection with the investigation. These two people are being treated as potential witnesses who may be able to provide information to assist the inquiry. They are not suspects.
They were seen on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, walking two dogs and pulling a shopper trolley bag along Melford Road, in Sudbury.
Detective Superintendent Mike Brown, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “We remain fully committed to solving this complex case and obtaining justice for the victim and any family he may have had. We are focussed on three main strands as part of this investigation: the identity of the victim; any persons involved in his death; and anyone involved in the deposition of the remains.
“Our main lines of enquiry remain centred around fully exploiting all the forensic opportunities, as these are at present the only realistic way we are going to learn more about the victim.
“As we have said from the beginning, this is a very long process and when we get initial results back they very often then need to be subjected to further tests, however we continue to learn more about the victim as we go along.
“However, another key line of enquiry for us is obviously how the victim’s remains came to be deposited in the river. The person or persons who did this may not have knowledge of who the victim was or how he died, but quite clearly they will know something of significance to the investigation.
“Therefore, we continue to appeal to anyone who believes they have any information about the discovery of the remains to come forward. If someone you know was acting suspiciously or displayed a real change in their character in the days and weeks before – and after – the discovery which gives you concern, then please come forward and talk to us. Any information you provide will be dealt with in confidence
“In respect of the identifying the victim, if anyone has concerns over a male relative, friend or colleague they haven’t seen or heard from, since between 2008 and 2012 and who was aged in their late 50s or early 60s at the time, then please contact us – your call could provide us with a vital breakthrough.”
Detectives are continuing to appeal for anyone with information about the discovery of the human remains in the River Stour to come forward. This includes anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour near the river in the days and weeks preceding the discovery on Thursday, August 27, 2020.
Officers are also appealing for the two people pictured in the image to make contact, or anyone who believes they may know who they are.
Anyone with information that could assist the inquiry is asked to contact the Major Investigation Team, either via our online portal here: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/363720N59-PO1 or by calling 101.
Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org